Australian welding industry warns investment crucial to meet net zero climate targets
The Australian welding industry has warned that more investment is crucially needed to boost the nation’s manufacturing capabilities if Australia is to have any chance of reaching its net zero climate targets.
Weld Australia is urging the Australian Government to introduce new policies to attract additional investment into the industry, ensuring Australia's renewable energy manufacturing capability can meet demands.
The peak industry body wants the government to mandate 60 per cent of fabricated steel to be made on-shore, compliant with Australian standards.
According to not-for-profit think tank Climateworks, $625 billion of investment is required to decarbonise Australia’s industry and energy infrastructure in time for the government’s net zero target date of 2050.
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Weld Australia CEO Geoff Crittenden says Australia needs to enact policies and legislation encouraging commercial investment to secure a pipeline of work for local manufacturing businesses, with $400 million from the private sector needed to decarbonise the nation.
“We must grow our manufacturing capability at a rapid pace if Australia is to have the resources to meet net-zero targets. And yet, the Federal Government has failed to allocate funding or enact any kind of industry policy, tax incentives, or legislation,” he said.
“The alternative is that Australia remains a dig and ship economy until we run out of ore—and options.”
Unsourced materials could fail net zero targets
It’s not the first warning sign that material requirements may cause Australia to miss its renewable energy transition deadline, with wind turbine manufacturers Vestas recently revealing their global supply chain was already fully booked for 2024, with Australian supply only possible if a local manufacturing plant was built.
Mr Crittenden says Australia risks throwing away its natural opportunity to become a global renewable energy superpower without the ability to scale and secure its manufacturing industry.
“Relying on the overseas supply chain would pose a significant risk that can only be offset by establishing sovereign manufacturing capability,” Mr Crittenden said.
“If Australia is to develop a sovereign manufacturing capability, then we will also need to develop the accompanying technical infrastructure.”
“It will be imperative that we have a suite of Standards covering all aspects of the manufacturing and construction process. Most importantly, we will need a set of design parameters that will allow for standardisation of infrastructure, transport and logistics.”
Weld Australia is the Australian representative member of the International Institute of Welding. To join Weld Australia, please visit their website.